Opinion: Should The Avalanche Be Worried About Georgiev’s Poor Play Between the Pipes?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt that the Colorado Avalanche are true Stanley Cup contenders as the regular season inches toward the finish line.

The team is currently (As of April 8) second in the Central Division, third in the Western Conference, and sixth in the league with a record of 48-24-6 for 102 points. They score a lot of goals (Currently first in the league with 289 goals), currently have the league’s sixth-best power play, fire a lot of pucks on the net (Are currently averaging 33.2 shots per game, and have firepower with the likes of Nathan MacKinnon (133 points), Mikko Rantanen (102 points), and defenseman Cale Makar (84 points).

This club also has a lot of playoff experience. They won the Cup just two years ago over the Tampa Bay Lightning and have the roster to make a strong run this postseason.

With all of that said, however, there appears to be one area of concern for this hockey club. It is this area that could end up hurting them come playoff time.

It is the team’s goaltending that is rather suspect, in particular the play of their starting goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. Georgiev, 28, was not particularly good in the playoffs last year for the Avalanche as he went 3-4 with a 2.60 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage and allowed soft goals at inopportune times.

While Georgiev currently leads the league with 37 wins this season, his numbers are not great. As of this writing, he is 37-17-0-4 with a 2.96 goals-against average, a .899 save percentage, and two shutouts.

It his both his goals-against and save percentage numbers that are alarming. It is not going to matter how many your team can score if you have trouble stopping the puck on a consistent basis, something that Georgiev seems to be struggling with.

He has really struggled over his last five games. During that span, he has won just one game and has posted the following numbers:

  • March 24 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins: Stopped 30 of 34 shots in a win. (.882 save percentage)
  • March 28 vs. the New York Rangers: Stopped 23 of 25 shots in a shootout loss. (.920 save percentage)
  • March 30 vs. the Nashville Predators: Stopped nine of 13 shots in a non-decision as he got pulled by head coach Jared Bednar. (.692 save percentage; two penalty minutes)
  • April 5 vs. the Edmonton Oilers: Stopped 41 of 47 shots in a loss. (.872 save percentage)
  • April 7 vs. the Dallas Stars: Stopped 30 of 36 shots in a loss. (.833 save percentage)

It is alarming is that Georgiev allows a lot of soft goals. Whether it is pucks going through him, not controlling rebounds, or not being in the right position, he allows a lot of goals that he should be able to stop.

Georgiev has also showed poor body language on the ice. According to Meghan Angley of DNVR, after allowing the fourth goal of the game to the Predators on Saturday, March 30, Georgiev shot the puck into the stands and earned himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which is when Bednar decided to lift him from the game.

That was not the only recent time that Georgiev displayed poor body language in the last two weeks. On Friday Night, April 5 against the Oilers, he had another meltdown.

The team’s backup goaltender, Justus Annunen, has had a solid season for the Avalanche. Annunen, 24, is currently 7-4-0-1 2.24 goals-against average, a .931 save percentage, and two shutouts.

Unfortunately for the Avalanche, he has no experience playing in the postseason. Sometimes that is not the worst thing, but if the Avalanche are keen on winning it all this season, they would probably prefer to do it with Georgiev in the net.

As such, Georgiev needs to get his game together in a hurry. If he is not able to do that, it might be another early exit out of the playoffs for the Avalanche.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

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Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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